R. NADAL/G. Dimitrov 6‑2, 5-7, 6‑2
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Rafael, it looked like a straight‑set win. You were in control in the second set and then let him back in the match. Can you go over that period of the match, please.
RAFAEL NADAL: Yes, I was playing right the first set. I played a good level in the first set. Then his serve was working well in the beginning of the second. I was having trouble, so just wait for my moment.
That moment happened, so I had the break, 40‑15, and then I played a few bad games in a row so I lost the set.
Positive thing, I was ready to accept that situation, accept that I played a few bad games. I played more defensive than what I was doing the last couple of weeks.
And from behind, the shots here are not the same than from inside the baseline, so I started the third set trying to go another time inside the court and trying to have the control of the point from there, and I think I played a good third set in general.
Q. Rafa, a lot of people have compared Dimitrov to Federer style‑wise over the years, and obviously you played Federer a lot in your career. Can you sort of compare differences between them that you’ve seen, or similarities.
RAFAEL NADAL: The style is very similar. Yeah, the game is similar, but for the moment, what we can compare is the style than the level of tennis. Dimitrov can play at a very, very high level, and I’m sure he will have a great chance to be in the top positions if he keep improving.
He’s one of the leaders of the new generation, and we’ll see. He needs to keep improving. He has a good advantage that his serve is great, so that’s very important today in tennis.
And then he has everything to be a very good player. So we’ll see in the next months, years.
Q. Who do you put into that list of other top young players with Dimitrov? Who do you see coming through?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, Raonic, sure; sure Janowicz; Harrison. I thought he was one of these guys the last couple of months. Probably he didn’t play his best, but I still believe that he can be in the top in the future if he’s able to reverse the situation that in the last year probably he didn’t play his best.
I don’t want to forget nobody, but there is a few more players that are going to have a good chance in the next few years.
Q. Rafa, were you happy with your level of aggression in this match? You’ve tried to be more aggressive in your matches. Were you happy tonight with that?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yes, I hit a few balls from not the best position too aggressive, my opinion. Sometimes I didn’t make the right decision how to go for the winner.
But that’s something that can happen when you try to play aggressive, and it’s something that I am doing a little bit more often than before.
So it’s a mistake that I have to accept; I assume this mistake. So it’s something normal, and tomorrow will be another match against a great player, probably the best in history, and if I am not 100% ready to fight every ball and to make the right decisions in the right moments, I will not have chances to win.
So I have to be ready to keep playing aggressive but making the right decisions in every moment.
Q. Congrats on the match today. Do you have a preference of playing at night or during the day? How does that affect your routine overall in prepping for each tournament?
RAFAEL NADAL: I always say the same: Tomorrow I will play at 7:00, so my preference is play at 7:00 because I don’t have another option. So it’s better accept what it’s going to be than try to change the situation, because it’s something that I cannot control.
ATP controls that and the tournament controls that. It’s true that sometimes for my game sometimes it’s a little bit better in the morning for me because the bounces are higher. For my game, sometimes it’s easier to play well then than during the night.
But here I’m playing at 7:00.
Q. Rafa, you’ve played Roger so many times throughout your career. When you go into tomorrow’s match, do you see it as I’m playing Roger Federer and you get maybe extra excited, or is it just another quarterfinal in Cincinnati and you treat it the same as you treat any other opponent?
RAFAEL NADAL: Always play against Roger is a special feeling. We have a great history behind us in our confrontations, so it’s not another quarterfinals. It’s a special one because you’re playing against a very special player. Our matches were very special always.
But, again, it’s a quarterfinals match, not the final, so that’s a big difference.
Q. Rafa, within the last couple of years I’ve noticed pretty much between every single point, you touch your ears and nose and shirt. Every single point now pretty much. I was wondering when that started and why you’ve been doing that.
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. I really don’t know. Probably the competition, you know, affects your routines, and when you are competing, you are doing more stupid things than usual.
But I really don’t know when that started and when it’s going to stop.
Q. Rafa, just asking you a little bit about Marion Bartoli. Were you surprised to hear that she decided to retire here last night?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, I read today in the morning and was a big surprise. But she feels that it’s the moment, so the only thing that we can say is congratulations for all the career that she had.
That was amazing, and finished her career with a Grand Slam title. Wimbledon one a few months ago is just great.
Wish her all the best for the rest of her life and big success in the new projects that probably she will have.
Q. Rafa, the US Open announced they’re going to put a roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium. A couple of years ago, there was all the discussion about how the rain was dealt with. What’s your reaction to maybe eventually being able to play under a roof at the US Open?
RAFAEL NADAL: All improvements are great for the sport, and all the things that makes the life easier for the players, for the fans, for the television is a great thing. So it’s a great thing that the US Open is doing that.
Just congratulate them for this very good decision, I think.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports